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Ten things to see at the Tate Modern

When we went to the Tate Modern last week, to see the Modigliani exhibition, we realised that the majority of people that go to the gallery don’t really go for anything except the amazing exhibitions of artist’s work, or the amazing installations within the Turbine Hall.

Well, we thought that there needs to be an end to this, some amazing art in one place that you can access for free…would make an amazing date or visit with parents when they come to visit if you’re the one that knows what to go and see. (Hey, afterwards why not walk for ten-fifteen minutes to Waterloo and check out some of our favourite bars in the area that we wrote about a while back). Have a look at where you can see some of the most famous pictures in the world (and then make discuss how the majority of them are by male artists?!!).

Ten: Guerrilla Girls: Do women Have To Be Naked To Get Into the Met. Museum, 1989. Room 1, Level 4: Media Networks.

The Guerrilla Girls formed in 1984 to highlight racial and sexual discrimination in the art world, particularly in New York, and this piece is one of the posters from one of their campaigns. One of my personal favourites in terms of radical art, but I have got myself into trouble many times when men, who could probably do with reading in to the whole idea behind the Guerrila Girls’ inception, argue that it’s not art.

Nine: Piet Mondrian: Composition B (No.II) with Red. Room 2 – A view from Sao Paolo: Abstraction and Scoiety. Level 2: Artist and Society.

Both Tim and I love Mondrian, particularly after our trip to many of the art museums in New York in February, the simplicity and quality of the abstract art, with no curved lines whatsoever. This piece is from 1935 and is worth the visit.

Eight: Claude Monet: Water-Lilies. Room 9: Claude Monet and Mark Rothko. Level 2: In the Studio.

Monet, the classical impressionist that we all seemingly learn about in primary school. Well this time, you can see it in the flesh in the Tate. Water Lilies is one of a few by Monet in this room, and although not THE most famous one, (you, know that one with the bridge), it’s something that needs to be seen in its beautiful surroundings.

Seven: Jackson Pollock: Number 14. Room 6: The Disappearing FIgure: Art after Catastrophe. Level 2: In the Studio.

Now I quite dislike Jackson Pollock as I think my brain isn’t wired well enough to cope with the abstract drips in front of me, but this piece from 1951 is here because it both reflects the theme of the room it’s in, and people seem to like him as an artist. So, do visit it and impress people that you take there telling them what you know about it (three forms horizontally and eyes in the corner, the ambiguity of the meaning of the painting is the point of it).

Six: Salvador Dali:  Lobster Telephone. Room 5: International Surrealism. Level 2: In the Studio.

Surrealism fascinates me, I don’t know much about it but I find it both dark and light hearted, funny and also very sad, playful and yet menacing. This piece from 1936 puts the two objects that aren’t normally supposed to be together, in one place, and Dali felt that both the telephone and lobsters held sexual connotations. There are a number of other Dali pieces around, make sure you check them out especially my favourite “Metamorphasis of Narcissus”.

Five: Henri Matisse: The Snail. Start Display: Level 2: Start Display. 

Matisse was confined to bed due to ill-health and eventually realised he could make but produced a number of pieces of work called gouache so decoupees which were made by tearing shapes from paper painted with gouache and pasted down. The snail, again, probably one you remember looking at at school at some point, but you will not believe the size of this piece if you have never seen it in real life, it’s huge!

Four: The Turbine Hall

OK, OK, so I know I said don’t go to the Tate Modern just to see the Turbine Hall installations, but there is a reason why that’s what some people do. They’re brilliantly curated and normally really fun. The current one, on until April 2nd 2018, fills the hall with swings for three, and it’s brilliant fun, I had a go last week!

Three: Andy Warhol: Marilyn Diptych. Room 1: Andy Warhol and the Guerrilla Girls. Level 4: Media Networks.

Warhol is my guy. I find everything about him fascinating, his life, his story, his parties and his artwork. The Tate Modern has a few pieces, worth checking out but don’t be underwhelmed by it please. This painting is about the cult of celebrity and death, and is one of over twenty silkscreen paintings of Marylin Monroe.

Two: Pablo Picasso: Weeping Woman. Room 3: Civil War. Level 2: Artist and Society.

There are also a large number of Picasso paintings in the Tate Modern but this is by far my favourite. This is a response to the bombing of Guernica (something that Picasso also painted), as it shows a weeping woman holding her dead child.

One: The view

I said it last week, and I’ll say it again, the fact that you can get the most amazing 360 degree views of the London skyline with the Thames in plain sight. Go up to floor 10, the top floor of the new Blavatnik Building and on a good day you can see from Canary Wharf to Wembley Stadium and it’s free. Totally free. Zero pounds. You have to do it, and see if you can time it for sunset, it’s a beaut (and staring into the very expensive apartments around the gallery is also great fun).

To add an extra one in, if you have kids with you or even just fancy getting creative yourself, then head up to the Drawing Bar on Level 1, The Boiler Room to make your mark on one of their digital sketch pads as a response to the art you’ve seen.

Have we missed any artwork out that you think is unmissable? Let us know in the comments below.

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